A sweet tale of a mutual passion and an unlikely friendship.

A young boy's misguided dismissal of legend lands him in the clutches of the possessive Margarash.

"The coins that fall are for Margarash, / Leave them where they lie," goes the cautionary song, warning those looking for spare change to give their couch cushions a wide berth. Collin, a light-skinned young numismatist, looks for coins everywhere, meticulously arranges his collection, and loves flipping a “magic” silver quarter into a golden dollar. Collin scoffs at the song’s warning, but he soon regrets his folly when the furious Margarash snatches him into a lair below the couch springs and locks him in a cage made of lost pens and remote controls. Even though the monster's enormous coin collection is spectacular and Collin takes quiet pleasure in suggesting the best way to arrange it, the boy eventually longs for his family so much that he agrees to show the Margarash his secret coin-flip trick in exchange for his return. The Margarash agrees, but in an unexpected twist, the pair soon miss each other, and the contrite monster offers his hand (and coins) in friendship. Despite a few moments where the narrative seems to lose focus, Riddle's prose provides a strong momentum overall, driving page turns and inspiring Miller's whimsical, childlike illustrations, which depict the titular monster as a gray, furred creature with a comically toothy underbite.

A sweet tale of a mutual passion and an unlikely friendship. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59270-216-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018


A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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